With the start of the European Championships less than 48 hours away, the Israel
national team arrived in Slovenia on Monday evening confident of its chances of
success despite an erratic build up to the tournament.
faces Great Britain in Ljubljana on Wednesday afternoon in the first of its six
Group A games knowing a winning start could be crucial to its hopes of finishing
among the top three in the group and advancing to the second
Following its game against Great Britain, Israel will play Ukraine
(September 5) and France (September 6) before having a one-day break ahead of
its final group contests against Belgium (September 8) and Germany (September
Israel hasn’t progressed past the first group stage since EuroBasket
2003 and has failed to win a meaningful encounter in the past two
Arik Shivek’s side has also won just three of its eight
warm-up games and traveled to Slovenia without Dallas Mavericks guard Gal Mekel
and with starting center Alex Tyus struggling with injury.
coach Shivek believes his roster is ready for the tournament and is optimistic
the team can make some noise in Slovenia.
“I told the players that I hope
they are starting to feel the butterflies that I felt yesterday,” Shivek said on
Monday. “It is fun to be a part of this and we are proud to be a part of this.
We hope we can make Rosh Hashana even happier.”
problems under the basket were exacerbated in recent weeks following Tyus’s
groin injury, but Shivek is still pleased with the condition of his roster ahead
of the championships.
“You always have to take into account where we were
when we began our preparations compared to where we are right now,” explained
Shivek, who will be guiding Israel in the EuroBasket for a second time. “We
overcame the problems we had quite smoothly and we have worked hard to correct
everything else over recent days.
All in all, I think we are ready for
the European Championships.”
Injured guard Yuval Naimi and rarely used
big-man Alex Chubrevich were the last two players cut from the roster on
The final roster includes: Yotam Halperin, Yogev Ohayon, Afik
Nissim, Raviv Limonad, Nitzan Hanochi, Guy Pnini, Lior Eliyahu, Omri Casspi,
Elishay Kadir, Ido Kozikaro, Yaniv Green and Alex Tyus.
“It had been
reported that there is unrest in the roster, but everyone is smiling and feeling
good ahead of the tournament,” said Shivek. “We have plenty of experienced
players here, but everyone is getting excited now that the real thing has
Tyus will be playing for Israel in the EuroBasket for the first
time. The center made his debut for the blue-and-white in last summer’s
qualifying campaign after receiving Israeli citizenship and is hoping to make a
significant contribution in Slovenia despite his injury woes.
good and I respect the coaching staff for taking their time with me,” said Tyus.
“Even though I haven’t played much recently, I will give my all to help the team
win. It feels great to know that you are being counted on and I want to repay
Forward Kadir is expected to play heavy minutes due to Tyus’s
injury and he is raring to go.
“The closer you get to the championships
the more committed and excited you get,” said Kadir. “We are really looking
forward to the tournament and really enjoy being together. Alex is a very
important player for us, but Israel has always found a way to compensate for its
lack of big men.”
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